Derry home ‘colluded’ with RUC and clergy to hide truth of abuse, inquiry hears

Witness accuses state agencies of failing a generation of children in residential care

A former resident of St Joseph’s home at Termonbacca in Derry has accused Catholic clergy, state agencies and the police of failing a generation of children in residential care.

A former resident of St Joseph’s home at Termonbacca in Derry has accused Catholic clergy, state agencies and the police of failing a generation of children in residential care.

Mon, Mar 3, 2014, 14:38

A former resident of St Joseph’s home at Termonbacca in Derry has accused Catholic clergy, state agencies and the police of failing a generation of children in residential care.

The witness, who cannot be named, told the Historical Institutional Abuse inquiry he had received kind and loving treatment from one named nun while he was a resident during the 1970s.

However he alleged many others suffered under a system of childcare which left them vulnerable to physical and sexual abuse by others. He alleged he suffered at the hands of other boys but felt unable to raise it when it happened.

“There was more than an element of collusion between the RUC, social services and the clergy,” he said.

“And the aftercare service as I see it that was arranged for these boys who left care was either going to [other institutions], prison or just get themselves dead.”

He continued: “Many of these boys I know are addicted to alcohol, drugs, on prescribed medication – they are now my age and older. Their whole lives have been tainted. Their whole lives have been destroyed.”

“No-one is going to tell me there wasn’t a level of collusion between all of these so-called agencies that had responsibility for these young people,” he said.

The witness was shown a series of statements from others at the home in Termonbacca which directly contradicted the evidence he gave to the inquiry.

At one stage the witness became distressed and the inquiry was suspended for a short time.

He said it was clear that treatment was not uniform in St Joseph’s home and he said that the nun who showed him great kindness was accused of others of cruelty.

Many other allegations were made both by and against the witness but cannot be reported as they would compromise the identities of those who have anonymity granted them by the inquiry.

Concluding his evidence, the witness said: “I know it is historical now, it is in the past. I have even a problem with the term “historical” institutional abuse. It is institutional abuse.

“It is not history as long as I’m alive and breathing.”